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Is It That Bad? Kemi Ogunniyi presents “The Foreign Otondo: Your NYSC Survival Guide” – A New Book

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Over 3,000 Nigerian graduates in Diaspora return home annually to serve their fatherland under the one-year National Youth Service Corps scheme. Amidst tightening immigration laws in their host countries and in light of new opportunities in Nigeria, many of these graduates return home, but must enroll in the mandatory scheme in order to work both in the public and private sectors. They are faced with various challenges and have many questions begging for answers. “The Foreign Otondo: Your NYSC Survival Guide”, is a booklet aimed at answering many of those questions and making the NYSC year less stressful and, hopefully, more fulfilling for the Corps member.

This booklet is meant to guide you throughout your NYSC journey – from the initial decision making to final completion.

According to the author, Kemi Ogunniyi, who returned home to serve between Oct 2010 and Sep 2011 and found the experience so intriguing that she had to write about it, “A lot of Nigerian students abroad have lots of questions about what NYSC is really about. They want to know what they would be doing during the year. They want to know what the three-week orientation programme at the camp feels like. They want to know what to bring with them. These were the sort of questions I had in my mind when I decided to go to Nigeria to take part in the NYSC scheme. The answers were not readily available to me, and I went through arduous lengths seeking information from people. That is why I wrote this book – to help other intending Otondos (Corpers) prepare better, from initial registration to the final passing out parade. Graduates who have studied in Nigeria will find it useful too.”

Kemi, who works as a communications and business consultant, writer, and editor, has also trained as a broadcast journalist, done a few stints at the BBC, and also holds an MSc in Marketing.

The book has received several glowing reviews including this from Journalist and winner of CNN Multichoice African Journalism Prize, 2009, Tolu Ogunlesi, who says, “An appropriate alternative title for this Guide would be: What Google won’t teach you about NYSC. Kemi Ogunniyi has done a great job putting this together, to help intending returnees beat a smoother path through the NYSC Jungle; overgrown as it is with bugles, bunk beds, bureaucracy, and bottom-of-the-food-chain wages. It’s not for nothing that NYSC has come to mean Now Your Suffering Continues. Armed with The Foreign Otondo, at least you can prepare for that suffering. Believe me – that preparation will make all the difference in the world. Even home-grown Otondos (I was one) will find it very useful.” Dayo Israel, a special representative to the United Nations also has this to say, “The book conveys the NYSC Experience from an exceptionally intelligent and entertaining point of view. It’s a candid exposition of the National Youth Service programme experience.”

You can buy a copy online via Ebay and the book’s official website ( at an introductory price of £5.99.  You can also visit, where you can interact with the author and other intending ‘Otondos’.

So what do you think? Do you really need a guide to the NYSC experience?

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